After offering some preliminary notes on my preseason BlogPoll ballot, I drew up and circulated privately an initial draft of my top 25, with respect to which I solicited and received feedback from friends and family members.
Ere I submit for your review a revised (yet still far from final) version of my preseason rankings, I feel compelled to include a handful of caveats:
- This top 25 is intended to have what it almost certainly will lack; namely, predictive value. If I am successful in my objective, my final BlogPoll ballot and my original BlogPoll ballot will be identical. My goal is to produce an accurate listing of where the teams will deserve to be ranked on January 9, 2009.
- I have an S.E.C. team ranked No. 1. I also have two S.E.C. teams ranked in the top five, three ranked in the top seven, four ranked in the top nine, and five ranked in the top 20. As someone who has been falsely accused of shameless conference homerism in his rankings, I confess that this is shameless conference homerism of a sort, which is to say: I am sure some teams in other leagues will turn out to be better than I expect, but I have no idea which ones. That being the case, I went with what I knew. As the season progresses and new information becomes available, I will adjust my ballot accordingly, in full compliance with Rece Davis’s dictum that early poll voting should be "a fluid situation."
- My list of teams "also receiving consideration" essentially consists of teams I had ranked in my initial top 25 draft or teams I was advised to consider. There were other teams to which I gave thought in compiling my original draft which do not figure here, but this does not mean they were ignored. I mulled over whether to include, e.g., South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia Tech earlier, but, having decided not to rank them, I was given no feedback which moved me to rethink that decision. Generally, I was more willing to remove or promote a team I had included already than to add a team someone advised me to consider.
- One of my brothers-in-law emboldened me to pick Auburn (which is installing a new offense and, based upon the evidence of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, has the quarterback to run it) to beat out L.S.U. (which has an unsettled quarterback situation) in the S.E.C. West. When coupled with my undeviating belief that the Plainsmen invariably pose the toughest challenge on the Bulldogs’ schedule, this conclusion led me to rank the War Eagle more highly than I’d have liked. I hate Auburn.
- I included Kansas and Texas Tech at the tail end of my top 25 as a compromise to balance out my complete disbelief in the Jayhawks and the Red Raiders with my desire to avoid the ire I know I would have drawn by omitting them entirely. Fortunately, both Kansas and Texas Tech face strong slates this season, so both teams’ worthiness, vel non, will be demonstrated on the field, at which point I will rank them, vel non, accordingly.
That having been said, here is my revised (though, to reiterate, not my final) preseason BlogPoll ballot draft, submitted for your review and comment:
I welcome your comments and constructive criticisms, which will be taken into account, especially in light of my view (particularly now that Paul Westerdawg has elected not to continue participating as a BlogPoll voter) that I am, in many respects, your BlogPoll voter.